Monday, December 30, 2013

The Best and Worst of 2013

GOODBYE 2013, HELLO 2014

It's that time of year already. All I can think about is where did the year go? Where am I at life and career-wise? Grad school is tough, but I'm in a better groove than I was last year. I'm hoping to graduate next fall, but it's looking more like next spring. I don't have that full-time book publishing job yet, but I have the next best thing....a paid internship in children's publishing!!!

I hope to reach my reading goals by the time this post goes live. I set a goal of 60 books and I am currently stuck at 59. I'm about to go out of town, so I have to write this post a little early. I should finish at least one or two more books before the clock strikes midnight on January 1st!!

There are so many books I did not get to. Some days I want to read every book out there. Obviously that is not possible!! But of the books I read, some I read were great and some were not so great......

(Note not every book on this list was released in 2013, but I just happened to read them in 2013)

Top 13 books of 2013

1. Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio -- Love, love, love, loved this book. Historical fiction inspired by a real-life female con artist? I was all in on this story. May Dugas was not a con artist, she was just misunderstood and misguided!!

2. Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson -- More historical fiction!! Sensing a pattern here? This one takes place during World War II. It was an emotional read. How do you find the strength to go on after a heart-breaking betrayal? Read the book to find out!

3. Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany -- Jodi Picoult is my favorite writer, but Amy Hatvany could soon supplant her. Amy Hatvany is equally adept at capturing the complex nature of families. Read this book!!

4. Broken CJ Lyons -- I've never read a book by CJ Lyons before, but I will again. Broken is her YA debut. I was able to figure out the mystery/thriller angle in this book, but the suspense was well-played.

5. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty -- As I said in my review, it's very easy to guess the secret in The Husband's Secret. I was on the fence with this book because it was so easy to guess the secret. But by the end I chose a side and was glad I stuck it out with this book.

6. A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger -- This was a refreshing take on the teenage perspective. The main
character is a teenage boy suffering from anorexia. The
little voice in this boy's head is trying to drag him down. But his family is fighting to save him. Who will he listen to?

7. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes -- More historical fiction!! A World War I painting of a woman long forgotten by her country stirs up controversy for a young widow.

8. And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry -- Katie is haunted by a decision she made in the past. Soon her past will catch up with her future!! Another great family drama!!

9. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline -- I learned about a controversial piece of U.S. history. From the late 1850s to the 1920s, orphaned children in overcrowded cities were put on trains to be "adopted" in cities throughout the U.S. The adoptions were more like indentured servitude.

10. A Far Piece to Canaan by Sam Halpern -- A
story of friendship that's reminiscent of the movie Stand By Me!!

11. Friday's Harbor by Diane Hammond -- My first foray into animal fiction was a great one.

12. The Dogs of WInter by Bobbie Pyron -- A young boy is forced to fend for himself and his dogs on the cold streets of Moscow. Reading the book, you might think the streets were the perfect place for him but this sweet, innocent boy really needed guidance and supervision.

13. The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison -- The life and reputation of a single father changes in an instant. How can he solve his problems before he loses everything?

Honorable mention:  The Book of Someday by Dianne Dixon,  The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski,  Dizzy by Arthur Wooten,  The Language of Sisters by Amy Hatvany, and Dancing to the Flute by Manisha Jolie Amin

The not-so good books of 2013

1. Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas -- I did not finish this book. It was torture to get through. This women seemed more like a self-absorbed jerk than a sociopath.

2. In Darkness by Nick Lake -- I actually did not review this one on my blog. I had to read it for one of my classes. I did not like it. The main character in this book was a teenage gang member. At times I felt sorry for him, but by the end I didn't like him at all.

3. The Doll by Taylor Stevens -- Although this is a thriller, I felt like I was reading an episode of Scandal. I know I'll take some hits for saying this, but I don't watch Scandal because I can't take the frenetic pace of the show. I don't like slow plot lines in my books, but I also don't like books that move too fast. The plot lines in The Doll were too fast for my taste.

4. However Long the Night by Aimee Molloy -- If this were a long-form journalism piece in the New Yorker, I would have felt differently about this. But it just didn't read like a biography to me.

5. Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes -- There were no thrills or suspense in this one for me. The ending was such a big letdown.

6. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter -- I know a lot of people like this one, but it wasn't that great to me. I think this would work better as a movie than a book.

What books were on your list?? 


  1. I hate making lists like this but I enjoy browsing others, thanks for sharing

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  2. You have some great book on your list ! I have seen JoJo Moyes' popping up on alot of bloggers end of the year list, so I think I need to read one of these.

    I think it's interesting Nick Lake's book (which came out a few years ago) is being used in a class. I read his newest book and I was really thrown off with how there are no quotation marks.

  3. With Nick Lake, I was taking a children's publishing class. We were all assigned different YA books. I was hoping for something else and got stuck with In Darkness. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

    I'm hoping to get to Jojo Moyes' other books in 2014!